Continuing Tales

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by ofravenwings

Part 6 of 33

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The Blood-Dimmed Tide

Darcy shifts her weight on the bed, her skin sliding against silk sheets. It feels strange when she moves, as though she is wearing someone else's clothing, the garments too heavy for her, weighing her down. When she moves again, she sees her reflection in a mirror across the room, and she knows why everything feels wrong.

She is not herself.

The woman reflected in the mirror is much taller. Darcy estimates that she is probably somewhere around a foot taller than herself. The woman's shoulders and hips are wide, her limbs muscled. Her skin carries the sheen of gold, and her tumble of curls are a mingle of molten gold and copper. Her eyes are a similar tawny shade, like sunlight trapped in amber, and slightly tilted, almost catlike in appearance.

Darcy's body moves again, and this time she is uncomfortably aware that the movements are being made without her will. She attempts to move her arms, her legs, even a finger, but nothing happens. She is simply a passenger, an observer.

Fragments of knowledge come to Darcy as the woman shifts again, checking the arrangement of her limbs in the mirror. Her name is Yrsa, and she is not here because she wishes to be. She is here because she has to be. Darcy tries to hook onto this thought, to find out why, but the thought slips away in the stream of Yrsa's mind, uncatchable.

"I have no problem with being watched, Silvertongue," Yrsa says. Her voice is deep and resonant; if Darcy hadn't caught that scrap of knowledge earlier, she would have thought those tones to be seductive. "But lying here alone for much longer, I will grow chilled." Yrsa moves across the bed, reluctantly moving out of view of the mirror. She pats the empty bed beside her.

Darcy wants to pull away, wants to close her eyes. But Yrsa does not pull away, and Yrsa does not close her eyes, and so Darcy cannot. She has to watch.

He moves out of the shadows, every movement hesitant. If Darcy possessed control of Yrsa's voice, she would have gasped. For Loki is young. He looks perhaps sixteen in human years; Yrsa's mind gives her no knowledge on how old he really is.

He is clothed in black trousers and a green tunic, the collar trimmed with gold. His hair is cropped short, curling at his temples and the nape of his neck. It suits him ill so short, throwing the bones of his face into stark relief. In his green eyes Darcy sees anticipation and anxiety. He blinks, and for a heartbeat, there is another emotion there. Again, Darcy would have gasped, had she been able, for it is fear she sees there.

In all of the footage she has seen, in everything she has been told, she associates Loki with many emotions. Triumph, anger, spite. But never fear. She didn't even think it was something he was capable of feeling.

Loki's feet are bare, making him appear strangely vulnerable, for all that Yrsa is naked. As he walks to the bed, his hands are balled into fists, his knuckles bloodless.

Yrsa rolls her eyes. Darcy immediately wishes that she could make the woman slap herself. Couldn't she see how afraid, how nervous Loki was? It seems not, for Yrsa's lips curl back from her teeth in something almost, but not quite, a smile.

"Take off your clothes," Yrsa says. There is nothing seductive in the command.

She doesn't even do Loki the courtesy of watching him disrobe. Instead, she looks down at her own long body, traces the filigree of a bracelet she wears around one wrist. It is a remarkably beautiful thing, evoking vines and flowers growing towards the sun.

It is only when Loki clears his throat that Yrsa looks up. She says nothing, just lifts an eyebrow, her lips curling again.

Darcy wants again to make the woman slap herself. Wants to make her beat her own face bloody for the way she looks at Loki.

He stands there naked, hands fisted at his sides, his clothing neatly folded and set aside on a table. He is as tall as Yrsa, but he is pallid, moonlight in contrast to her sun-burnished skin. He is not as muscled as Yrsa, but there is a beauty to him, a litheness to his muscles that speak of a different kind of strength. A kind of strength that Yrsa will not, or cannot, see.

Yrsa sighs and lies back, her thighs parted. She says nothing, just stares at the ceiling. In her peripheral vision, Darcy watches Loki crawl onto the bed. He sits back on his heels, flicking his gaze from her face to her breasts, to her belly, her thighs. He takes quick, almost shy glances, but Darcy can see the hunger, the longing in his eyes.

"Well, then?" Yrsa asks, stretching her arms out across the bed. "Looking accomplishes nothing, Silvertongue. Thor was never so weak."

He winces at that, as though he has been dealt a physical blow. Yrsa's mind supplies Darcy with an image of Thor naked beneath her, muscles straining as he thrust deep inside her. Darcy feels her phantom stomach contract. This woman had been with Thor, and now comes to Loki? What was happening here?

Loki closes his eyes, swallowing heavily. When he opens his eyes again, he grins, but Darcy can see the effort it costs him. It is a mask, that grin, it is a wall behind which he hides.

"Silvertongue, you call me?" he asks. He's trying for a casual tone, but his voice shakes ever so slightly. "Care to discover why I am called so?"

He moves to cover Yrsa's body with his own. Yrsa does not move. Within, Darcy is painfully aware how much smaller than the Asgardian woman Loki is. He matches her in height, but he is much leaner, his frame more fine-boned. She is also aware of how surprisingly soft his skin is, a stark and heady contrast to the hard ridges of muscle beneath. Strangely, he is also cold, as though he has just walked in from the heart of winter.

Yrsa, too, feels that cold, for she flinches and shudders, her skin rising in waves of gooseflesh.

Loki pulls back, his brows drawing together for a moment. Yrsa stills, fixing him with a hard look, and then his mask is in place again.

Yrsa does nothing, simply lies there, hands outflung towards the sides of the bed. And Darcy, against everything she knows of Loki, wants more than anything suddenly to make this woman lift her hands, to hold this poor boy. Give him some sign that he is wanted, that he is not utterly wanting.

She can do nothing, and so Yrsa simply lies there as Loki descends again, this time for a kiss. He is clearly untutored, but fervent. Darcy can feel desire coiled tightly in him, even for this woman who lies completely unresponsive beneath him. It quivers in every part of him, like a storm about to break.

And Darcy realises, as Loki's mouth moves to Yrsa's neck, her breasts and belly, that he has no idea that Yrsa does not want to be here. Darcy wants to look away, and this time, at least, Yrsa complies, her head turning to the side to admire her bracelet.

Darcy cannot see Loki, but she can still feel his hands moving against Yrsa's body. His fingers are trembling, his movements against Yrsa's skin stuttering, lingering nowhere. Darcy would almost have thought him to be as unwilling as Yrsa, but then he shifts, and she feels the hard evidence of his desire against Yrsa's lax thigh.

Yrsa heaves a sigh, turns her gaze away from her bracelet. "Silvertongue, let this be done."

There are bright spots of red high on Loki's cheeks as he rises to cover Yrsa again. His breath comes fast, shuddering in and out of him. In contrast, Yrsa's breathing has, if anything, slowed.

A fragment of the woman's thoughts come to Darcy: He will last for the count of three or four, if that. Green boy.

Darcy wants to hit her again as Loki moves his hips, prods at her, trying and failing to gain entry. Finally, Yrsa moves, grasping him in her hand and pulling him roughly into her. She is dry, and it pains her, but she shows no evidence of this to Loki.

Yrsa's eyes focus on the ceiling as Loki moves in her, allowing Darcy only snatches of Loki's face. His eyes are closed, his lips parted and flushed. His breath comes hot and ragged against Yrsa's ear.

He is, to Darcy's utter shock, beautiful.

Yrsa sees nothing of the kind. She doesn't feel hatred or revulsion for Loki. There is just utter indifference.

As Loki's thrusts grow faster, Yrsa again turns her gaze to her bracelet again. As her head moves, Darcy sees Loki's face in full. His eyes are open now, the green almost drowned by the black of his pupils. There is an expression of absolute wonder in those eyes, and it breaks Darcy's heart to know that Yrsa feels absolutely nothing.

Loki thrusts once, twice more, and his body tightens, drawn taut as a bow. He makes no sound apart from an outrushing of breath, like a sigh.

For a moment, both of them are still, and then Loki leans down, clumsily kissing Yrsa again. He reaches out to take her hand, and his fingers brush against the bracelet.

Something shudders through the room as his fingers touch the metal. Yrsa moves then, pulling herself out from beneath Loki. She dresses quickly, ignoring his seed spilling onto her thighs. Only when she has laced her bodice does she turn back to him.

He is kneeling on the bed, still naked. All of the vulnerability Darcy had seen in him is gone, his face set in hard lines.

"That bauble," he says, gesturing to the bracelet. His voice is as cold as his eyes. "It was given to you by my father."

Yrsa pulls herself up to her full height, looks down at him. "It is a lovely thing, is it not?"

"It is a lovely bribe, is it not?" Loki stands, makes a gesture with his hand. A blink, and he is dressed, his hair slicked back. "And who is the spell contained in that trinket intended for, lovely Yrsa? Not I, that much is certain." He tilts his head to one side, considering. "My brother, perhaps? Do you fancy yourself a princess?"

"And why not?" Yrsa counters. "It is a small price, to lie with one such as you, in return for a crown."

Loki's eyes grow harder still, until they appear as chips of emerald ice. Darcy sees that, for all his anger, he has not truly connected things until this moment. "My father sends me a whore?"

"None else would have you." Yrsa crosses to the mirror, runs her fingers through her hair. Twists a strand across her forehead, as though contemplating how a circlet would look there. "You do not compare to your brother. In any fashion."

Inside Yrsa, Darcy cringes. Behind Loki's cold mask, she can see how each word fractures him, creates a weak place that will crack and crack until there is nothing of that vulnerable boy left. Until all that remained was the mask.

"And, Silvertongue," Yrsa continues, turning from the mirror. "I think perhaps that tongue of yours would be better suited to-"

That was enough. Darcy could see what Yrsa was going to say next, and she can stand no more. For all that she knows that he will grow to become the man responsible for breaking the world, the boy standing here before her was not that man yet.

Darcy does not know how she does it, but she stills Yrsa's tongue. Lifts Yrsa's free hand, closes it, hard, around the bracelet. She can feel the spell inside the metal, humming like a trapped insect. She focuses, again not knowing how, and crushes the gold against Yrsa's skin. The metal threads snap and warp, and she presses harder, the spell buzzing against her fingers. Finally, it gives way, the spell breaking, magic rising like coloured smoke in the air.

Exhausted, Darcy lets Yrsa's hands fall to her sides, but she does not allow the woman to move, or to speak again. Enough damage has been done.

Loki's eyes miss none of this, narrowing as Yrsa broke off mid-sentence, watching closely as the bracelet is destroyed.

"This is not how it happened," he mutters.

He stalks to the bed, drags his fingers across the wooden frame, picks up a pinch of the silk sheets. Greenish light gathers around his fingers, and the silk becomes a liquid, dripping through his fingers.

"Well, well," he says.

As he turns, golden light gathers around him. When he faces Darcy/Yrsa fully again, he is the Loki that Darcy has seen in the news footage. Older, harder, his eyes bruised, body encased in leather and metal. His horned helmet gathers light into itself, sharpening the illumination until it seems a weapon itself.

He stalks over to Darcy/Yrsa, his movements those of a predator, his eyes piercing her, holding her to the spot. Darcy feels the cold menace emanating from him. Even Yrsa, trapped in her body, quakes.

"Now," Loki says. He moves closer, leans close to peer into Yrsa's eyes. The horns of his helmet frame her face, trap her. "Who are you, to cross into a dream like this? Not Yrsa, that much is certain." He leans closer still, and she can smell the leather and ice of him. He lifts a hand, taps a finger once against her forehead. "Who watches from behind those eyes?"

A spot of cold blooms on Yrsa's skin where he touched her, spreads fingers of frost across her face.

Loki smiles coldly, then moves back. He reclines on the bed as though it is a throne, long legs crossed before him as he waits for his magic to do its work. He looks almost bored, but he does not look away.

Slowly, Yrsa's form freezes around Darcy, the colour fading from her flesh until Darcy stands trapped in ice. Her vision is distorted by the ice covering her eyes, her breath trapped in her lungs.

She wants to close her eyes. She cannot.

She wants to run. She cannot.

She just wants to breathe.

Loki has not moved, just sits there, watching. Darcy thinks frantically. Notes, finally, what Loki said. This is a dream. Not real.

She focuses. Thinks of sunlight, of flame, of heat.

And the ice melts away.

She collapses to the ground, water cascading around her, salt on her lips. She is soaked through, her hair bedraggled, but she is thankfully dressed in jeans and a loose shirt. Strangely, she is still wearing Yrsa's bracelet, the gold twisted against her skin.

"Okay, brain," she says, focusing on the wet carpet beneath her feet. "Time to wake up now."

Nothing happens.

She grits her teeth. Pinches her arm. "C'mon, I melted that ice, didn't I? Just a little bit more." She pinches again, hard enough to bring tears to her eyes. "Make the carpet ago away."

The carpet vanishes, and she is suspended over nothing. A spark of triumph blossoms in her. It is just a dream, and she can wake up.

"Right," she says, closing her eyes. "Now the bedroom, and everything it contains. When I open my eyes, I'll be alone, and then I'll wake up. And by the way, brain, can we never order up a freaky dream like that again, please? I'll give you as many donuts as you want. I bet Stark has donuts stashed away somewhere."

She opens her eyes. The bed is gone. The bedroom is gone.

Loki is still there.

He sits on the darkness as he had on the bed, but now he is bending forward, hands on his knees. He is watching her, curious.

"You should not be able to make changes in my dream," he says.

"Pretty sure it's my dream, buddy," Darcy says.

He raises one eyebrow. "Oh?" He unfolds himself, rising in one smooth motion to his feet. One step, two, and then is standing over her, the leather and ice scent of him wrapping around her. "Then why are you dreaming of me?"

Well, shit. Darcy has no answer for that. "Maybe I've got some kind of brain fever?"

He laughs at that, his eyes raking her up and down. His tongue comes out to moisten his lips.

He grins then, moving suddenly, leather creaking as his arm wraps around her waist, pulling her body up against him.

"Little mortal, dreaming of your god?" he asks. He shifts, and she can feel his hardness pressing against her. A strange mixture of heat and chill comes from him. "Enjoy that little scene, did you?"

His hand slides lower, cups her hip, and then he is lifting her thigh to his waist, pressing himself directly against her, his hips rocking against her in a hypnotic rhythm. The whole time his eyes hold hers, and she cannot look away.

And Darcy wants to look away. Wants to grab onto whatever it was that allowed her to control the dream, because he is moving again, grinning as he lines up the head of him with her clit, his hips still moving in that rhythm. And dammit, her body is responding to him, her breath coming fast and hard.

"Is this what you want?" Loki asks. His free hand slides beneath her shirt, slides up her ribs to cup her breast, thumb rubbing circles around her nipple. He is not grinning now, and his eyes are hard. His hips move faster. "This?"

Darcy looks at him, and she remembers the boy hiding in the shadows, the things that Yrsa said to him. And then she is moving, lifting her hand to cup her cheek, her thumb tracing the line of his jaw.

Loki's armour melts away, and he is stumbling back from her, dressed in the black shirt and trousers he wears in the cell beneath Stark Tower. The clothing hands loose on his frame.

"Who are you?" he asks. His voice is wavering, uncertain.

Darcy fights to stop her body curving towards his, to keep her hips from moving in the rhythm he set. There is a low, dull ache between her thighs. His eyes have released her now, and she shifts her weight, acutely aware of the seam of her jeans pressing against her.

"Darcy Lewis," she says.

Loki's eyebrows draw together. "What are you?"

"Political science major?" She laughs; it sounds hollow. "Well, not now. I guess now I'm nobody."

Loki's eyes flick sharply to hers. "You are nobody? Standing on the edge of Stark's tower?"

Darcy feels as though she has been speared through with ice. "That was a dream."

"You believed this a dream, too, Darcy Lewis."

Darcy moves back, shaking her head. "No. No, I am not doing this." She presses her fists to her temples, hard enough that she hears the bones creak. "Wake up, Darcy. Wake up, wake up!"

"That will not accomplish anything, Darcy Lewis."

Darcy turns away. His words have triggered a memory. "If you fall in a dream, you usually wake up with a start, right?" she asks. "You wake up."


Darcy closes her eyes, focuses. Loki is still talking, but she tunes his voice out. And when she opens her eyes, they are standing on the top of Stark Tower, the cold wind whipping around them. She is standing at the precipice, Loki several steps behind her.

She hears him begin to move, but she is faster.

She jumps.

Loki's fingers close around her wrist, and as she falls, she turns so she is facing him. Some emotion she cannot place crosses his face, and she sees that fragile boy again. For a moment, she is drowning in his eyes, and she wants nothing more than to reach up, to let him pull her back up.

The golden bracelet is caught between them, the metal biting into her skin. It grows cold, and she feels the threads of gold begin to snap one by one.

Loki's eyes widen, and then he is losing his grip on her wrist.

And she is falling, down and down and down…


Darcy wakes chilled to the bone, shivering so hard that her teeth clatter together, bone rattling against bone. It takes her a long time to realise that she is in her bed, in her apartment. That she isn't falling.

When she closes her eyes, she can see Loki's face, the fear in his eyes as she begins to slip from his grasp.

She pulls the blankets up around her, wraps her arms around her knees. Winces as pain flares in her wrist.

The skin there has been seared - no, it has been branded. Etched there is a delicate pattern like creeping vines. The same pattern as the bracelet Yrsa had worn in her dream.

She is still staring at the brand when there is movement in the corner of her eye.

Her new laptop is still running, though the screensaver has dimmed the image. Darcy's hand shakes as she reaches out and touches a key to illuminate it fully.

The feed from the cell beneath Stark Tower is running, the image slightly jerky, glitching over whatever connection its running over.

Loki is awake. Awake and staring directly at the camera, one hand slightly outstretched, as though he is reaching for something.

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by ofravenwings

Part 6 of 33

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